From an outward perspective, it may seem like I haven’t been up to much. I get asked a lot of the same questions. Any new books coming out? Any new sites launching soon? Are you speaking anywhere? No new sites, no new books, less travel.
I want to tell you what I’ve been up to.
I have been working hard on re-organizing my life. Quietly, I have been clearing my plate. I have drastically cut down on the projects I was committed to, from websites to podcasts and more.
I was spread out too far and realized that I wanted something different. I am proud of what I have accomplished to date, but I began to think about what my next big work might be. In order to open myself up to that opportunity, I needed to cut away. A lot. I am pretty excited about this. But there wasn’t really any reason to talk about it until I was ready.
What That Means
This is a fun and interesting time. It’s been many, many years since I’ve felt so open to new opportunities. For the last 14+ years, I have managed my network of sites. Starting in 2008, writing and speaking became a part of my life. But between those commitments and others, I didn’t have much time to spare.
The catalyst for all of this was a hunger for change, for something new. I’m not set on the form that change will take. There are a few things I am considering.
- Taking a community-focused (probably) job at a company.
- Writing a couple of books and becoming a more prolific speaker.
- Really developing 1-2 websites in my network and doing things I’ve always wanted to do with them.
- Taking a crack at a startup idea that I have.
The last three don’t really need any elaboration. But the first one is the main reason that I am writing this post. Taking a job at a company would represent a huge change for me. I am interested in hearing about new opportunities, but it will help everyone involved if I provide some rough definition of what I am looking for in a role.
The Right Role
Over the years, I have received numerous job offers (most notably, from Facebook). I was always flattered, but it was never the right fit. To take a job would represent a very different experience for me and I’m intrigued by it. If you have ever wanted to hire me, this is a great time to get in touch.
What I am really interested in is the right role. If the right role isn’t out there, I’m not interested in taking a job. Here is what the right role means to me.
Right Company, Right People
I want to work with people I like at a company that excites me. You can’t pay me enough to work with people I don’t like. The right opportunity is one where I would work at an interesting company that employs people with strong character and ethics.
I’m open to hearing about jobs that might take me away from community, but the job for me is probably very strongly tied to online community. Real online community. That is what I am passionate about. Not social media marketing that pays lip service to the idea of building community on the web. Actual engagement that involves a strategy deployed across multiple channels.
There is some wiggle room in there. There are tasks that are very complementary to community, like customer success. I can probably take a look at your company and give you a good idea of the needs I see and the direction that we could go.
Authority and Advancement
The role has to represent a step up in my career. I feel a deep responsibility not to sell myself short. As such, I am interested in director or VP level roles (in addition to Chief Community Officer, a rare title that is slowly growing in popularity). I am looking to head a community department or even build the company’s first one. It might start with me, and be only me for a while, but I think it would be a fun challenge to be the one who establishes and defines the department.
Ideally, this is a top level department – an equal to marketing, not beneath it. Community and marketing should work closely, but they have different goals. I want the authority to manage the department and if community is involved or affected in a decision, I’d like to have a voice.
For this reason, most likely, I am not interested in taking a role at a massive company. It just feels too restrictive to me. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t (and would love to hear about any opportunities, even those at large companies). I just think that the role I am describing is more likely to come from a small to mid-sized organization.
My Speaking and Writing is an Asset
I’ve written books that have been well received and I’ve spoken for organizations like CNN, Dell, FedEx, Australian National University, North Carolina State and Arizona State. I don’t want to go to a company where people would see my speaking engagements and writing as vacation time. I want them to see it as an asset and a credibility booster.
I still want to do both, including writing about the work that I do at your company. I intend to continue some side projects – mainly running a website or two and writing at ManagingCommunities.com.
The fact that I can go to conferences, speak and represent the company should be a good thing. As well as the ability to write authoritatively.
I am a self-motivated, driven professional that takes pride in his work. As such, I’m a big fan of workplace flexibility.
This could mean the ability to work when, how and where I want. I would enjoy the ability to shift my hours, work from home sometimes or even take a week here or there, travel and work from the road. Even if I relocate, I’m planning to head back to North Carolina regularly to visit my family.
While I am willing to relocate, I am also fascinated by the remote workforce employed by more and more companies, where their team operates in many different locations.
I have been self-employed my entire life. To say that I love freedom is an understatement. That said, I fully recognize that there are times when you may have to sacrifice freedom to become part of something greater. Still, the more freedom, the better.
Questions? and Contact Info
If you have an opportunity and think that I would be a good fit, I’d love to talk with you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read through this.
If the Right Role Isn’t Out There…
As I said, it’s really all about the right role. I’m interested in taking on a new challenge by taking a job, but I’m also not desperate for a job. If the right fit doesn’t come up, I am eying some other things.
Whatever path I choose, these are exciting times. It’s fun to have a relatively clean slate and to be able to decide what to tackle next. I am fortunate to have this freedom. Thank you to everyone who has supported my work, affording me with this opportunity.